23 February – Why you NOW need to understand GDPR if you are in or trade in Europe

GDPR-Webinar-Graphic-Social Media 500x300

With our GDPR webinar, on the 8th March which Ian Moyse (Industry Cloud leader & Non Exec director of a GDPR training Organisation) is presenting in, Ian has kindly provided us with a fantastic article to share with you all.


You may have heard the term GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and if not you certainly will. As we approach May 25th 2018, when this becomes European law, the noise around this will grow.


Don’t stop reading now as the acronym seems boring and not relevant to you, it is and it is !

What’s happening is that a new law will come into play across Europe, yes the UK included too, Brexit or no Brexit it will apply! This law will effect organisations with operations in the EU, those that trade from one EU country to another or those that simply trade within territory.


This is not another year 2000 hype where there was no impact or pain. The impact is already happening and the pain is going to get greater!


If you’re not sure what the GDPR is or how it will affect your business, now’s the time to start paying attention.  This is all about company’s legal liability to protect data they hold on staff, customers and in fact anyone where personal details are stored and the impact (fines £) that are going to ensure if you don’t!


So this encompasses cloud, on premise, IOT and mobile, no matter where you store data, if it meets the criteria of personally identifiable and relevant information then you need to comply.


Ignorance will not be an excuse and in fact will put you in a far worse position. Better you can demonstrate your diligence of action and how you have tried to mitigate any risk as a defence. It is good practise to be able to demonstrate that you have attended training, acted on the process recommended from it and tried to do the right thing and you have a far better chance of being treated leniently and worked with rather than against it should the worst happen.


There is a wealth of information and articles on GDPR available, unfortunately they mostly quickly defer to complex detailed information and do NOT give clear and plain guidance as to what it means and what needs to be done, hence stats such as “96% of businesses do not fully understand GDPR (Source : Symantec 2016 – Global Security Mag).


Any firm operating in the EU will need to legally comply and demonstrate that they hold personal data securely and have strong processes around this for data holding, security and destruction.


So let’s make this clear and simple in 3 buckets, why it is, what it is and what you need to do;


Data is important and you have a legal responsibility to do certain things

Data breaches hit all-time record high in 2016 with an increase of 40% over 2015! (Source Help Net Security)


You may have already heard about some of the high profile names who had such breaches in the last couple of few years such as Three Mobile(UK), French naval defence contractor DCNS,  Vodafone (Germany), Tesco Bank (UK) , Bundestag (Germany), the Czech Ministry of Education, the Irish Department of Social and Family Affairs,  Kiddicare (UK) and we could go on and there will be more of these stories coming for sure!


Data Protection Laws are long due an overhaul. For example most Data Protection Acts have not been revisited since the late 90’s at best (eg Data Protection Act, 1998), since when the world has changed radically;  the internet, cloud, and mobile changing the volume of interactions and data exchanges taking place.



What GDPR is

GDPR is the new law that requires from May 2018 (source Europa), any business that operates in the EU or handles the personal data of people that reside in the EU must implement a strong data protection policy to protect this client data. It is the EU’s way of giving customers more power over their data and less power to the organisations that collect and use such data for monetary gain. Businesses that fail to meet the new standard will face fines of up to 4% of global turnover or €20m (whichever is larger) and businesses that suffer from a data breach without having adequate measures in place will suffer the same.


So this is a law, something mandatory you need to take action on as a Director of a firm with Director liabilities and something that your customers care about. See this not as a threat but as an opportunity to get your ship in shape and proudly state to customers you have been on GDPR training and are taking action with processes to be a good caring supplier. Consider putting a GDPR and how we care for your data section on your website, alongside contact us and about us.


What Action you need to take….  (and Don’t Panic)

You need to be prepared as a business to take action now and to mitigate the risks you face.

Do not assume you are immune from a security leak of data and that you can deal with it afterwards!  By taking action now you can help reduce the risk of it happening and by taking demonstrable action, it will provide you a defensive protection should the worst happen.


The May 2018 deadline may seem a long way off now, but businesses must act today in order to understand what it will take for them to achieve compliance. You need to have time to do it too, and to do it without panic, whilst fitting it in alongside your day to day running of the business.


You need to get the ball rolling and have a plan of actions for your journey to GDPR, so that come 2018 you have no panic, no worries and can assure your customers of your compliance.


There is already much scrutiny from customers on non EU businesses, such as USA cloud providers operating in the region and there will be increased expectation under GDPR as more customers promote their GDPR compliance as a comfort feeling for their own customers.


There is much talk for example that every organization will need to appoint a Data Protection Officer and that failure to do so will expose you to possible huge financial sanctions. In some cases, this may be required. You need to understand this now, so you can construct the most effective plan to ensure you are compliant in the most effective manner for your business.


The last Information Commissioners Office survey found that 75% of adults don’t trust businesses with their personal data (source Alphr) So as well as being legally compliant you can also utilize this in a positive way to re-assure clients dealing with you.


You will find many offering 3 day courses and/or complex expensive consultancy and whilst for some this may be appropriate; the majority will allocate someone in their business to manage this process. This will often involve a day’s awareness and process training workshop, which will get you on the way with plenty of time to implement this into your business.



If you found this article interesting and would like to know more, please do register for our webinar on the 8th March, where Ian Moyse will be talking about this very topic as well as answering any questions you may have. We hope to see you there.

16 February – GAME ON: Marketers versus Partners


Imagine this.


You’re in a room with 60 technology vendor and partner representatives, with a no-holds-barred remit to make the deal of the century. What would you do?


It’s exactly what happened at our latest Channel Meet Up event, held in Google UK’s prestigious Town Hall.


Instead of the usual conference approach of presentations, we brought in Jim Wallman from Past Perspectives, a strategic gaming company, to create a scenario where our attendees could work together and explore possibilities that they don’t get the chance to in the real world.


The fun part? To make deals with competing teams in an environment where anything was possible.


The real deal? To create a platform for networking and conversation in a world where digital, mobile, and other technology advances – instead of connecting us – have in fact created a disconnect. Today it’s all too easy to hide behind social media, email and IM, but a lot of insight can get lost when we don’t get together in a room with our peers – and competitors – once in a while.


How our world is changing  

Kicking off the day was a talk by Yvonne Cheung, Industry Head for Business Technology at Google UK, titled ‘The New B2B Journey’.


Yvonne shared several startling facts. Among these were that 49% of IT buyers do their research outside of normal working hours. 41% do their research at the weekends, and 21% on their holidays.


Small insights that make a big difference to how and when we talk to our audience.

The days of marketing during 9-5 hours, Monday to Friday, may well be a thing of the past if you want to reach the B2B decision maker when purchasing decisions are on their mind.

It reflects on the importance of coming together as an industry and talking  – key to staying abreast of what’s working, and what’s not, in B2B marketing.


In addition to this, Yvonne made points about device preference, with 7/10 B2B decision makers using mobile devices to research their decisions. But actions, orders and purchases are predominantly made over desktop, so services need to be delivered appropriately.

With Yvonne’s insightful talk fresh in our minds and feeling inspired, it was time for the game.


Here’s how it went…


The purpose of the game

Gamesmaster Jim Wallman presented the structure and theme for the day: guests were put into teams, and given the task of creating a fictional company and strategy.


With this done, the teams had to go about setting up meetings and making (also fictional) deals with the other teams.


For the marketers in the room, it was about creating tempting offers to bring partners on board with. While for the partners, the objective was to get the most value from the vendors.

So, what’s possible in a room where anything is possible?


Amidst the laughter, joking and out-of-this world deals, some fundamental learnings became clear.


Remember the basics, reap the rewards

  • Trust | The importance of building an open and honest relationship between vendors and partners was clear. The scenarios where either party changed what they were asking for when the deal was near final, were those relationships that broke down.
  • Reliability | In close relation to the point above, reliability beyond the deal was also key. Staying fair and maintaining good levels of communications after the contract is signed is vital.
  • Strategic fit | In choosing the right partner, it was agreed that sharing strategic goals is key – with the same corporate vision and similar direction for growth.
  • Desired outcome | Deciding your goal before going into big deals is another critical step that can be overlooked. Do you want to go big with one company, or spread yourself wider and build lots of smaller relationships? This is where you can learn from your peers.


Strategies used on the day

  • Widen your view | Don’t just focus on the big fish in the partner world, or those established names. You could cut a more beneficial deal with the start-ups and smaller partner organisations which could reap dividends later as they grow. And because you helped them in the beginning, they’ll remember you later on (linking back to that important point of trust and reliability).
  • The right manpower | Make sure you have enough manpower to manage your relationships. Partners valued dedicated account managers, and the ability to keep face-to-face appointments – remember, communication is key.
  • Tiered benefits | It’s ok to offer bigger benefits and rewards to bring in new partners, and then reduce these in the second and third year of a relationship (as long as it’s not reduced to such an extent that the partner no longer gets anything from the relationship!). For example, a tiered MDF programme to kick-start new relationships (£50,000 in the first year for a key partner, £20,000 in the second year, and so forth).


Resources to offer

  • With a little upfront investment, you can create a platform of resources to help your partners get the most from their relationship with you.
  • Co-branded partner marketing portal to help partners sell your solutions, quickly
  • Marketing store for access to campaigns, assets and support
  • Deal registration tool to speed up the decision-making process when partners register opportunities
  • Marketing concierge service – bring in a third-party agency to deliver your partners’ marketing campaigns, funded by their MDF.

So, how did it go? Ok, so ultimately the game was a bit of fun. As Olivier Choron of purechannelapps said, “we wanted to create a platform for networking, where you could talk and set up meetings, but without the formalities of a traditional conference. This was a great icebreaker that’s truly served its purpose.”

Games master Jim Wallman commented, “these games are great at pushing boundaries, and allowing each side to play around with deals and scenarios that they don’t have the chance to in real situations. But in doing so, they can glean some insights that could be put to work in the real world.


“How do I know it was a success? When we came to a break, and nobody stopped what they were doing. They just stayed heads-down and working – it was great to see.”


One attendee commented on the day “The issue is, we all think our challenges are unique. It’s only when you come to a day like this and actually talk that you realise we all have the same challenges. We’re too isolated today, we need to meet more as an industry to work together on our challenges, share best practice, and move forward.”


For those that attended, we hope you enjoyed it and found it insightful. Our next event is planned for Friday, 6th October back at the Runnymede Hotel in Egham, so if you would like to attend, please register your interest here.


We also have a channelmeetup LinkedIn group, which I would like to welcome you to join. Here you can connect with other attendees and join in on the conversation.

09 February – A Portal that suits vendors and channel partners

portal webinar1

Partner portals, where to start? They’re such a bugbear for many brands. Realistically, partners not only work with you, but also with many other suppliers, your competitors, each trying to make sure that partners never leave their portals. So how can you possibly begin to encourage partners to stay engaged with yours?


It’s a tricky one!


That’s why in a recent webinar we asked experts, Cath Hackett- Transformation Director- Go to Market Strategy- Konica Minolta, and Gary Morris- CEO and Founder, Successful Channels, INC to weigh in with their opinions on this matter. Both are only too familiar with the challenges brands face. So, what do partners and vendors really need from a partner portal?


The fundamentals


Let’s start with the absolute fundamentals; the real point to having a portal in the first place.


A partner portal should:

  • Support partnerships
  • Help partners collaborate with you
  • Help you work better with partners
  • Complement what your account managers don’t do for these partners
  • Support partners cost- effectively
  • Enable the community to form partnerships with each other
  • Be the face of your partner programme. 

    In summary, a portal should replicate what is happening in a face-to-face environment between your account managers and your top partners, and offer this to all of your partners, cost effectively.


    As Gary says ‘The most effective partner portals are organised around the needs and interests of the partner.’


    What partners want


    Recognition - Several partners with whom Cath has worked before wanted to receive customer awareness of them as a partner. Think of your partner locator and recognise the various levels of partner engagement and collaboration you see.


    Support - Partners come with varying levels of need, many of them being very small, with limited resources. For this reason, they ideally want to be enabled in terms of running their own business. This includes marketing right through to sales. They need that support, but also want to maintain a high level of control and for many to execute this themselves.  For this reason, Cath says, ‘It’s important to understand the business models of the partners so then you can offer that enablement.’


    Simplicity - As previously mentioned, partners will not only be working with one vendor, they’ll be working with many. Therefore, they need an easy to use portal, where they can efficiently find what they’re looking for.


    Cath makes an excellent point here, ‘Everyone tries to differentiate their partner portal and make it totally different for the brand experience. But actually, using a structure that a partner understands and that a partner will be using with a number of vendors is more likely to increase usage and traffic to the portal.’ So, keep that in mind!


    Access - Information should be widely available to ALL partners, not just your top partners. Partners need this. They need that support from you. If you’re not supporting them and making information widely available, they’re more likely to look elsewhere at a different vendor, thus affecting potential partnership and revenue opportunities in the future.


    What vendors need


    Deal registrations - From a vendor perspective, above all they need to prove that their partner communities are driving revenue growth. This way they can establish, if necessary, what action needs to occur to improve their performance. This includes making it as easy as possible for partners to complete deal registrations. Cath understands that sometimes training is required to explain to partners the importance of this and how it can benefit them.


    Reporting capabilities - It’s vital that vendors can view, access and analyse how engaged their partners are, identify what they’re clicking on, downloading and how often they log in. If this is rare, it allows vendors to establish who their latent partners are, and speak to them about the next step in their journey.


    Flexibility - When working with partners globally, vendors require a solution which enables all resources and modules to be available in the desired language, whilst achieving this cost effectively and easily.


    Easy to manage - Vendors require a portal that is easy to control, so they can add and remove resources or modules as and when necessary. A complicated portal is no good for anyone.


    Adaptability - With the marketing environment constantly changing and different types of partners being added to the portal, it’s imperative that it can adapt to the partner’s requirements and the knowledge based economy. As Cath says, “There will be different requirements for those business models, and your partner portal will need to be able to manage those different requirements.”


    To consider


    Partner journey - Cath learnt this the hard way: ‘Think of your partners as a customer and the partner journey that they will go on in the portal.’ Only by doing this will you be able to establish how functional and easy to use your portal really is and if it provides enough relevancy for them.


    Relevancy - Where a lot of vendors go wrong is by providing too much irrelevant content, causing partners to struggle to find the information that really matters to them. Providing content in the right language, that is of interest to the partner will make a drastic difference to portal engagement.


    Retaining interest - Gary makes a really interesting point ‘What’s worse than being talked about? Not being talked about! Give channel partners a reason to come to your portal.’ Examples for achieving this could be using notifications and regular updates to encourage them to stay in tune. If you aren’t generating traffic and your partners are not coming to your portal for meaningful reasons, it will fail.


    Ownership - Data and keeping it up to date is an issue for every brand. Enabling partners to update who has access to the portal and their contact details, encourages less data issues. Think of it this way, it’s unlikely they’ll notify the vendor when a colleague leaves or retires.


    An incentive - Both Gary and Cath recognise the benefit of creating an incentive because it’s a way of encouraging partners to do something that is important to us, the vendor. Gary however makes a great suggestion, for separating your brand from all the other substandard portals and your competitors. ‘Ensure that you look at what is important to the partner and align your incentives and gamification around what’s most important to them.’ Only by doing this will they really be on-board with your program.


    So, yes portals can be a nightmare, and we’ve all experienced the pain of them. But it’s good news, there really is hope out there for brands, to engage and keep our partners at close proximity to us. The trick here is to invest in a program that makes it as easy and as cost-effective as possible for both parties to be happy. Good luck!